Exterior Pools & Water Features

How Much Does Pool Leak Detection Cost? (2024 Guide)

If a pool’s water level fluctuates significantly, calling in a professional pool technician is a good idea. Pool leak detection cost ranges from $100 to $1,000, with the national average at $300.
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Highlights

  • Most homeowners spend about $300 on pool leak detection cost, but a typical range is $100 to $1,000.
  • The cost to detect a pool leak will depend on the type and size of the pool and liner, labor rates, and the type, location, and severity of the leak.
  • Pool leak detection is recommended if there’s a sudden increase in water bills, the pool water levels fluctuate significantly, or unexplained standing water is visible around the pool.
  • There are DIY patch kits available, but they work only on certain types of pools and liners. They also don’t solve every kind of leak, which is why most homeowners opt to hire a professional pool technician to detect and repair leaks.
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Using pool leak detection, a professional can find the location and source of an often-frustrating leak in a swimming pool. Leaks can waste a significant amount of water, inflate the water bill, and even cause structural damage to the pool if left unaddressed. According to Angi, the national average for pool leak detection cost falls around $300, but the price can range from $100 to $1,000 or more depending on a few factors. 

Finding a pool leak can be tricky, especially if the pool has complicated electrical and plumbing elements. Paying for professional swimming pool leak detection is worth it for many homeowners to make sure the problem can be identified and fixed at the source to prevent further damage. Understanding the cost factors for pool leaks can help homeowners make an informed decision when it comes to budgeting for pool leak detection services. 

A close up of a dirty pool.
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Factors in Calculating Pool Leak Detection Cost

Calculating the price for pool leak detection isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Factors like the type of pool and pool liner, the size of the leak and its location, and even the kind of leak can also play a role in pool leak repair cost. The distance the pool repair company travels and its hourly rate can also affect the overall price. 

Pool Type

Diagnosing leaks in above-ground pools is generally more affordable than diagnosing leaks in inground pools. Above-ground pools allow for a complete visual inspection from the outside of the pool walls, eliminating the need to access the hidden and hard-to-reach areas on an inground pool. And unlike inground pools, above-ground pools don’t have complex plumbing and buried components like drains and pumps that can complicate the detection of pool leaks. Inground pools can be more expensive to repair, especially if the process requires draining the pool or finding the leak in a maze of underground pipes that have to be unburied.

  • Above-ground pools. Fixing leaks in above-ground pools can cost from $100 to $700. The price is typically less expensive than for inground pools for a couple of reasons. Leaks in the liner are much easier to identify and patch, since it’s much more accessible. Even replacing the entire liner usually comes at a lower cost than repairing cracks in concrete or fiberglass inground pools.
  • Inground pools. The price to detect pool leaks in an inground pool ranges from $400 to $1,000. Simple fixes, such as replacing worn-out gaskets that leak, can be done relatively quickly and cheaply. For more substantial leak repairs, such as replastering the pool’s surface or replacing a vinyl liner, homeowners can expect to pay on the higher end of that range. Inground pool repairs are more expensive because accessing the source of the leak is more difficult if it’s coming from the plumbing network buried underground. The concrete or fiberglass materials used to construct inground pools are also more expensive to repair or replace than the liners used in above-ground pools. 

Liner Type

The type of material the pool is made of plays a role in how much it costs to replace a leaky liner. This is especially true if the pool needs to be resurfaced, which is a more intensive and expensive repair.

Liner MaterialAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Concrete$75 per linear foot
Fiberglass$300 to $400
Vinyl$350 to $3,600
  • Concrete. For many homeowners, hiring a professional to find and fix a medium-size crack in their concrete inground pool costs about $1,000. The costs can increase significantly to $5,000 if the concrete pool needs to be completely replastered. “If you’re dealing with a leak in the actual concrete of an in-ground pool, you really should bring in a professional to handle this kind of issue,” advises Rafi Friedman, president of Coastal Luxury Outdoors in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. “These leaks tend to get worse before they get better, and they tend to get more expensive to fix the longer you wait to deal with them.”
  • Fiberglass. Leaks can appear around the walls and floor of a pool, especially as it ages. For a fiberglass pool, recoating the surface can address most leak issues. Recoating a fiberglass pool is a relatively low-cost fix, typically ranging from $300 to $400. A DIY fix can cost from $10 to $20, but it can be applied incorrectly or it may not address a more serious issue.
  • Vinyl. Leaks in vinyl liners usually are caused by holes, punctures, or tears. These can happen from everyday wear and tear or from mishaps during maintenance. For smaller leaks, a patch is a common fix. If the damage is extensive, replacing the entire liner might be necessary. Large or numerous patched rips in a vinyl liner are a sign that it’s time for a replacement. Vinyl liners typically last only around 7 years. 

Leak Type, Size, and Location

The price to diagnose and fix a pool leak depends on where the leak is and how severe it is. If the pool leak detection company charges by the hour, homeowners can expect to pay between $75 and $125 per hour. For an easy fix, such as a noticeable rip in the liner, the pro can find it quickly, keeping the cost lower. For leaks in underground pipes, the technician might need to do a pressure test or even drain the entire pool to get a good look. Knowing some of the typical types of leaks and what it might cost to find and fix them can help homeowners budget for this job.

Type of Leak Repair or ReplacementAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Liner repair or replacement$100 to $3,600
Main drain repair$100 to $8,000
Pool gasket replacement$100 to $200 per gasket
Pool light repair or replacement$65 to $450 per light
Pool pipe replacement$1,000 to $5,000
Pool pump repair$400 to $1,620
Pool tile replacement$20 to $30 per linear foot
  • Liner repair or replacement. While patching smaller tears is an option, extensive damage or numerous large tears often indicate that replacing the entire liner is the best solution. Vinyl liner replacement ranges from $350 to $3,60. DIY pool repair kits for vinyl and fiberglass pools can be a budget-friendly option for minor repairs on an above-ground pool; they range in price from $10 to $20. 
  • Main drain repair. A leaky drain can lead to water damage around the pool. Repairing a drain can cost from $100 to $250, but replacing a broken main drain can set homeowners back $4,000 to $8,000. The main drain works hand in hand with the main water line: The water line delivers fresh water to the pool, while the drain moves it away. The drain plays an important role in keeping the pool water clean by circulating the water and assisting with proper chemical distribution.
  • Pool gasket replacement. Replacing a leaky gasket ranges from $100 to $200 per gasket, depending on where it’s located in the pool. Gaskets are seals that prevent leaks around various mechanical pool parts, and they can start to leak when they’re worn out. Some gaskets, such as the ones around the skimmer or connecting pipes, are cheap to replace, but gaskets around lights are more expensive. When a professional comes to replace a gasket, homeowners can ask them to inspect all the others at the same time to prevent a return trip.
  • Pool light replacement. If a pool light can be repaired, the cost can range from $65 to $150 per light, but replacing them could cost as much as $150 to $450 per light, depending on the type of light. Lights can break, rust, or get damaged over time. If a pool light is leaking, it’s always a good idea to get all the others inspected as well.
  • Pool pipe replacement. Replacing a pool pipe can cost from $1,000 to $5,000. Several factors can influence this price tag: the size of the pipe, the accessibility of the pipe, and the length of time it takes to replace it. Pool pipes get replaced rather than repaired since they cause significant leaks and can damage the surrounding landscaping. This type of damage can be caused by corrosion or large cracks. PVC replacement pipes can last 75 years or longer.
  • Pool pump repair. The cost of pool pump repair ranges from $400 to $700, while replacing a pool pump can cost anywhere from $430 to $1,620. The final price depends on local labor prices, the brand, and the type of pump. The most common areas for a leak are at the connection point between the motor and the housing or around the bottom of the pump. If a pool pump is leaking, replacing it is often the best option, but a pro may detect an easier fix.
  • Pool tile replacement. Replacing tiles in a pool typically costs around $20 to $30 per linear foot, including labor and materials. Tiles installed above or at the water line can loosen over time and can cause cracks or damage to a vinyl liner, potentially leading to leaks. If a pool is fully lined with tiles or has decorative tiles on the bottom, the cost will be much higher to repair them, since the pool will need to be drained.

Labor and Trip Charges

The cost for a pool leak detector service is almost entirely made of labor fees, since a homeowner is paying for the expertise of the professional to find the leak. While basic materials such as excavation equipment, pool detection dye, or pool draining tools might be included, the main cost is for the technician’s time and skill. Additional fees may apply for service calls that are outside of the company’s usual service area or for emergency calls on weekends or holidays.

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Additional Costs and Considerations

Finding the location of a pool leak is just the first step of the process. Fixing it can involve additional costs depending on the situation. Some additional costs can include repairing the leak, digging up the area around the leak, resurfacing the pool, and draining and refilling it. 

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Leak Repair

Once the leak has been found, the cost of repairing it will vary depending on the location and severity of the leak. This can range from a simple patch job to more extensive repairs. 

“A quick, simple way to deal with leaks is to attempt to patch them,” says Friedman. “This works especially well for leaky equipment, and even for small cracks in the pool, provided you have a patch that can go on wet or [you have] the time to drain and refill your pool.”

Land Excavation

While the cost to repair a swimming pool can get expensive if excavation is needed, this is usually a last resort. Most repair professionals will start with a pressure test, which is a much simpler way to locate leaks. Digging becomes necessary only when other methods fail to pinpoint the problem of an underground leak. The cost of excavation can vary widely, ranging from $500 for smaller areas to $5,000 for difficult-to-reach spots. 

Pool Resurfacing

Age and normal wear can take a toll on any type of pool, leading to leaks in the walls or floor. For fiberglass pools, a recoating project can address leaks at a cost of $300 to $400. Above-ground vinyl pool liner replacements cost around $350, while inground vinyl liner replacements can range upward to $5,000. In some cases, extensive leaks might necessitate paying for full pool resurfacing costs, which is a pricer option at approximately $11,000. This is recommended only if there are multiple leaks and a complete resurfacing is the most cost-effective solution for lasting repairs.

Pool Draining and Filling

Depending on the location and severity of the pool leak, more extensive measures may be needed. Draining the pool allows access to leaks and damaged parts, but it can add $180 to $230 to the bill. Refilling it typically costs around $55 per 5,000 gallons, and rebalancing the water chemistry can run about $450.

A hose tool is used in a pool.
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Types of Pool Leak Detection

If a homeowner suspects their pool may have a leak, it’s important that they address the issue quickly in order to prevent further damage to the pool. There are different detection techniques that a pro could use depending on the type and location of the leak, and each detection method comes with its own price range and level of effectiveness. 

“Once we’re sure that there is a leak, we’ll use different methods depending on where we suspect the leak to be,” says Friedman. “The pool equipment, like heaters and filters, is always the first thing we’ll check, since these are easy to spot and easy to fix. Any dripping pipes or standing water around pumps is a clear sign of a leak. For older in-ground pools, it’s also essential to check for cracks.”

Dye Test

A dye test is a cost-effective way to check for leaks in a pool. A small amount of colored dye is released into the water near suspected leak areas, such as cracks, crevices, skimmers, lights, and fittings. If a leak is present, the dye is pulled toward the leak. If the dye slowly disperses into the water, then that area is not the source of the leak.

Pressure Test

A common way to find leaks in pool plumbing is with a pressure test, which costs between $200 and $500. A pool technician will perform this test to check for cracks or breaks in the pipes. This test is most often recommended if a pool is losing more than 2 inches of water over a 24-hour period. By pressurizing the plumbing system, technicians can pinpoint the location of any leaks.

Single Line Test

A technician may conduct a single line test to isolate each plumbing line to determine where the leak is located when other pool detection methods can’t solve the mystery. This method is more precise but can be more time-consuming and expensive. 

Spa Leak Detection

Some homeowners have pools that feature a spa area for hydromassage therapy. These are often found in swim spas. If a leak is only in the spa area, the technician will most likely skip the pool and focus on the plumbing for the spa or hot tub. They may use one or more of the same methods above, such as a dye test or pressure test.

Do I need pool leak detection?

An important part of pool maintenance costs is making sure the pool doesn’t have any leaks. “Pools will leak most often due to age or poor maintenance, though above-ground pools can also leak from things like storm damage,” explains Friedman. Homeowners will want to know the signs that indicate a need for pool leak detection services. 

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Increased Water Bill

An unexpected increase in the water bill can be a red flag that there’s a hidden pool leak. Normally, a pool’s water level should remain fairly consistent, with minimal top-offs needed due to evaporation or excessive splashing. Some pools have an automatic feature that keeps the water at the preferred level, while others require manual refilling. Either way, homeowners will see a higher water bill if the pool is constantly being refilled without a clear reason.

Rapidly Decreasing Water Level

“One of the most obvious signs [of a leak] is that the water level will go down more quickly,” says Friedman. If a homeowner notices a sudden and dramatic drop in the pool’s water level that can’t be explained away by evaporation or splashing, there’s likely a leak somewhere in the pool system.

Standing Water

The presence of standing water around the pool, especially in areas that typically stay dry, can be a sign of a water leak. According to Friedman, “[You] can also spot leaks by looking for dripping pipes or standing water by pumps and other equipment. Or you notice strangely soggy spots in your lawn or water trickling out of your lawn and into the gutter, especially when it hasn’t been raining much.” Rainwater or splashed water will drain properly away from the pool, but if there are frequent puddles around the perimeter, there could be a hidden leak underground or somewhere in the pool structure. 

Increased Chemical Demand

Constantly needing to add chemicals to maintain a proper pool water balance can be a clue that there’s a leak. Once the pool chemistry is balanced, the pool will need minimal adjustments unless it’s heavily used. If the homeowner finds they’re adding chlorine, balancing the pH, or adjusting other chemicals to maintain proper levels, it could be due to a leak.

Structural Issues

Visible cracks in the pool’s surface can be signs of a leak and potential structural damage. Leaks can sometimes cause the ground beneath the pool to shift, which can lead to cracks in a pool. If they’re ignored, they can worsen and become larger leaks, causing more water loss and compromising the structural integrity of the pool.

Algae Growth

An unexpected algae bloom or persistent algae growth, even when a homeowner knows how to maintain a pool, can be a sign of a leak. Pool chemicals normally help control algae growth, but if a leak is introducing fresh water or ground contaminants into the pool, the chlorine and other chemicals that keep algae from growing may get diluted. Then homeowners might wonder why their pool is green.

A view of the water in an in ground pool.
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Pool Leak Detection: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

While the idea of tackling leak detection with a pool leak detection kit might be appealing to save money, there are pros and cons to consider before a homeowner tries this on their own. A DIY approach can be a cheaper option, but DIY methods can be time-consuming and ineffective, especially for hidden leaks. Some pool leaks can be tricky to pinpoint, and others require specialized tools and expertise to diagnose them accurately. There’s also the risk of misdiagnosing the problem, which can potentially lead to wasted time and money on unnecessary repairs.

Professional pool technicians know how to find a leak in a pool quickly and accurately, saving homeowners time and frustration. They can also recommend and carry out repairs. It’s best to call a professional when homeowners see signs of a leak but can’t locate the source, when they’ve tried DIY methods without success, or when the leak seems complex and requires advanced techniques to locate. Early detection and repair of pool leaks can save homeowners money by preventing higher water bills and potential structural damage, which will cost more to repair. 

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How to Save Money on Pool Leak Detection Costs

Having a pool installed by one of the best pool installation companies can be an excellent way to relax and cool off during the hot summer months, but inevitable pool leaks can lead to costly repairs if they’re not found and fixed quickly. Keeping pool leak detection costs under control is possible with some planning and proactive measures. 

  • Act quickly. The longer a leak goes unaddressed, the more water is wasted and the greater the potential for damage. Finding and repairing a leak promptly can minimize the overall repair costs, including the cost of leak detection.
  • Conduct a DIY visual inspection. Before calling a professional, homeowners can perform a thorough visual inspection of the pool and the surrounding areas, looking for cracks, damaged pipes, loose fittings, or persistent damp spots, which could indicate the location of a leak. This can help narrow down the area for the professional to focus on, saving the homeowner time and money.
  • Gather information. Before contacting leak detection companies, homeowners are advised to research different methods and the typical price ranges. This knowledge can help homeowners get quotes with a better understanding of what’s included in the service and avoid any surprise costs.
  • Get multiple quotes. It’s recommended that homeowners get at least three estimates from reputable pool leak detection companies to compare pricing and services.
  • Avoid emergency calls. If the leak isn’t urgent, then homeowners will want to wait until normal business hours to schedule a service visit. Weekends, holidays, and after-hours calls will typically cost more.
  • Schedule regular maintenance. Hiring the best pool cleaning services, planning regular maintenance, and budgeting for pool inspection costs can help address small leaks and issues and help prevent larger and costlier problems over time.
  • Check the warranty. If the pool is still under warranty, homeowners can check to see if leak detection and repairs are covered. They also have the option to add coverage from a company like Choice Home Warranty or American Home Shield, which offer some of the best warranties for pools.

Questions to Ask About Pool Leak Detection

It’s helpful for homeowners to have all the information they can get regarding pool leak detection before hiring a professional. Asking the right questions can help save money and avoid miscommunication. Here are some questions for homeowners to ask about pool leak detection costs and the repair process. 

  • What experience and credentials do you have in pool leak detection?
  • What methods and equipment do you use for pool leak detection?
  • How long will the detection process take?
  • What is the estimated cost for leak detection, and are there any additional fees for specific methods?
  • What can I do to get my pool ready for the detection process?
  • Can you provide a detailed report of the findings and recommended repairs?
  • Do you offer a guarantee on your leak detection service?
  • Can you explain the process you’re following to find the leak?
  • What is the cause of the leak, and how much will repairs cost?
  • Do you offer repair services, or can you recommend a qualified pool repair company?
  • What steps should I take to prevent future leaks?
  • What is your payment plan?
  • How can I leave a review of your services?

FAQs

Pool leaks can be a frustrating mystery that leads to wasted water, higher water bills, and potential pool or yard damage. These frequently asked questions address some common concerns so homeowners can understand the signs of a pool leak and how to address it. 

Q. How much water loss is normal for a pool?

The amount of water a pool loses through evaporation depends on air and water temperature, wind speed and consistency, sunlight exposure, and humidity levels. In general, a pool loses about ¼ inch of water per day through evaporation. This translates to over 2 inches each week. For an average-size 33-foot by 18-foot pool, the water loss can be approximately 600 gallons a week. 

Q. How long does it take to detect a pool leak?

The time needed to detect a leak depends on the complexity of the situation. Simple visual inspections might take an hour or less, while complex leak detection methods using specialized equipment can take up to 24 hours.

Q. Can a water pool leak go undetected?

Unfortunately, yes. Hidden leaks, especially underground ones, can be difficult to detect without professional help. 

Q. Are pool leaks easy to fix?

The ease of pool leak repair depends on the leak’s location and cause. Simple leaks might be solved with a quick patch, while extensive ones may require excavation or resurfacing. The complexity of the repair job will also depend on whether the pool is above ground or inground.

Q. Is it normal for a pool to leak?

No, pools should not leak, but leaks are one of the most common issues of pools. Well-constructed and well-maintained pools can hold water for years, but parts will eventually fail. If a homeowner suspects a leak, it’s best to address it as soon as possible to avoid wasting water and incurring further damage. 

Angi, Fixr, Katchakid, American Leak Detection